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Dragontail Says Welcome Back to the Bulgers
Trip Report

Dragontail Says Welcome Back to the Bulgers

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Dragontail Says Welcome Back to the Bulgers

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Object Title: Dragontail Says Welcome Back to the Bulgers

Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 9, 2012

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

 

Page By: EastKing

Created/Edited: Aug 13, 2012 / Aug 13, 2012

Object ID: 806263

Hits: 1418 

Page Score: 87.31%  - 24 Votes 

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Introduction: The Bulger Drought

Back in series between 2008 to mid-2010 I was on a real role with mountaineering. Volcanoes used to go now like nothing and big two day trip used to come to me with ease. Nothing was perfect but it had seemed that I finally found my groove in the mountaineering field. The biggest thing was that weight which was always a struggle was down to the lowest it had been since the age of 12 and the body fat ratio was at 5%. Once I got to these goals I started to Washington’s top one hundred, i.e. the Bulger List. Then life got the better of me.

Dragontail from Colchuck Lake
The Goal!


A loss of car, loss of a job then a grueling two- job 85 hour a week schedule severely cut into those at one time limitless plans. Starting mid 2010 all the way until this last Thursday I went into a Bulger List Drought. Though I climbed well over 100 mountains of varying difficulties not one of them were on the Washington State Bulger List. Dragontail was on many hiking plans over these past two years but due to partner concerns condition concern, timing and a number of other issues it did not happen. The two-job schedule did not produce much in the financial results. Gas and fast food ate half of the money and in two years despite being heavily active in hiking and climbing much of my old weight came back.

Heading Up



Well finally everything finally opened it door for me on this past Thursday and it was time for me to break this miserable, horrible drought. I finally was able to combine with Jimbopo and tag this beautiful mountain. We woke up early in the pre-dawn hours and then got to the trailhead for morning start. The first round of hiking to Colchuck Lake was not very hard and luckily the heat of the day had not hit this section yet. The weather looked good and we were making good time up the trail. Both Jimbopo and I were feeling quiet confident about our chances of making the summit.

Heading up to Colchuck Lake
First Good View!


But once we got across Colchuck Lake reality came crashing in. The backside of Colchuck Lake was more of a cairn boulder scramble than a nice trail. Then came the real gut check Aasgard Pass. This 2300 feet in .75 mile cairned scramble was torture to my now heavier body. I was really feeling it from the hot sun and my energy tank was ringing on empty. At one point I was thinking about turning around due to a number of issues. Thankful Jimbopo talked me out of such crazy talk and after lunch up at Aasgard Pass we decided to head up to Dragontail via the Snow Creek Glacier Route.

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat In the Pass!

Looking up at the route up Dragontail
Route Up to Dragontail!

Looking up at the Witches Tower
Other Peaks for the Future!


The 35-40 degree snow-climb was even more effort. But if there is one thing most people know about me is the fact that I love a good snow-climb. This particular snow climb required crampons which I remember to bring for the trip. Both Jimbopo and I took this climb up slowly to the top of the ridge. Once on the top of ridge we saw the obvious climbers trail up to the summit. This was basically was a walkup with a little Class 2 at the very, very top. The last little bit was actually easier than the heading up to Aasgard Pass. Once we got to final summit area we scrambled up to the very true summit where an incredible view awaited us.

The mellow scramble up Dragontail
Mellow finally to the exposed summit!

The Summit

Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake (shot by Jimbopo using my camera)



It might have been a mellow last little bit to the true summit of Dragontail but the true summit is highly exposed, with Colchuck Lake literally 3400 feet straight below. I was able to manage a couple of shots on the true summit and I gave the camera to Jimbopo to finish the rest. The view was amazing but I was getting very dizzy and feeling a little unstable on the true summit so after 30 seconds I headed over to the next rock. Jimbopo spent some more time on the true summit while I got some of my energy left. After being on the summit rocks for a while we scrambled back to a small resting area to refuel before heading down the mountain.

 
Rainier
Rainier (shot by Jimbopo with my camera)
 
Shot down the ridge
The rocky peaks of Dragontail(shot by Jimbopo with my camera)
 
View of the Lakes
Isolation Lake and other Enchantments
 
View from the summit
Colchuck Lake!

Heading Down


A look back at Dragontail
Last look at the route to Dragontail as we are heading down.


On the way down we decided to take a slow glissade down the mountain. Any speed here might have gotten us in a lot of trouble due to the hardness of the snow. Despite the slow and controlled glissade we made it back to Aasgard Pass in twenty minutes. There we refueled for what was going to be a long descend down the steep and very rock Aasgard Pass. This path down was brutal not because it was steep but because there was no footing all the way down it to Colchuck Lake. It took us an hour and a half just to get down this brutal path-scramble. At this point we noticed the sun beginning to go down and knew we were running out of sunlight.

Resting at Aasgard
Last look at the route to Resting on Aasgard

A waterfall on Assgard
Dragontail in the evening sun


The scramble around the back of Colchuck Lake took whatever energy we had and ate it out alive. All I could think at this time was ouch. We took another small break at Colchuck Lake and then headed back. At this point we were continuing to race time despite our tired bodies demanding rest; we pushed past Colchuck Lake and then continued down to the Stewart Lake trail.

Sun setting on Dragontail
Last shot of the beast!!


Just before the Stewart Lake Trail, the darkness of night finally caught us. We had about 3 miles left now all in headlamps. This seems easy but is the furthest thing from it. We both now were extremely tired and only I had an extra set of batteries. The only thing I could think about was the relief of sitting in my car when we got back and the blanket I packed in there. My dirty sweaty body was in pain for every up and down we went through, but we stayed calm and rode the trail all the way to the parking lot.

The Conclusion

Once we got back to the car we realized it was past 11 pm and there was nothing open in Leavenworth. Both of us were too tired to drive home and so we made a decision to sleep at the trailhead. Once there we were approached by a couple who did the Enchantments loop only to realize that they left one of their keys somewhere in the Enchantments. They were set to sleep for the night so we told them we would take them down in the early morning. We managed a couple hours of sleep and a good amount of body rest and at sunrise we were ready to head back. We dropped the couple back at the car and then headed on back home, tired but happy because for me THE BULGER DROUGHT IS OVER!!!!

I really need to thank Jimbopo on this one. He helped with the driving and the motivation on the trail. On the times when it was hurting the most he was there. I know that I had the right partner on this trip. As for me this trip was a wake-up call for me to challenge myself to more Bulgers and get myself back into the shape that led me to the success I had in 2009 and 2010. Hopefully this is the beginning of another round of great climbs for me. And moreover hopefully I will continue to tackle the Bulger List in the upcoming two months. Let this be the beginning of something.

Images


Comments


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Viewing: 1-8 of 8    

Josh LewisCongratulations!

Josh Lewis

Voted 10/10

Nice job EK! I wished that I could have been on this trip, but was in the Picket Range. Glad my brother talked you into proceeding. Eventually when you return to this area, be sure to go when it's snow covered to enjoy the glissade down Asgard Pass.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 5:20 pm

Matt LemkeWell done!!!

Matt Lemke

Hasn't voted

Glad you're getting back into it! We should climb something together this fall. I'm back in WA Sept thru Nov.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 7:05 pm

Mike LewisThanks for making it

Mike Lewis

Voted 10/10

I'm glad you chose to invite me and thank you for the kind words.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 7:18 pm

DeanNice report

Dean

Voted 10/10

This report really makes me miss my Enchantments. I don't know how many times I went up and down Aasgard Pass (maybe 30 times) but yet I never climbed Dragontail. Someday I'll have to get back up there to my old stomping grounds and get that done. Thanks for a fun read and a reminder of what I really miss about Washington.
Posted Aug 15, 2012 10:07 am

EastKingRe: Nice report

EastKing

Hasn't voted

When you do Dean PM me. I still have the Witches Tower and Little Annapurna to do there and would love to do Dragontail along with the other two!
Posted Aug 17, 2012 1:41 am

Vitaliy M.Awesome

Vitaliy M.

Voted 10/10

Friend and I did Backbone ridge on Dragontail on the 16th of August. A day before that we did South Face of Prusik. Enchantments are filled with friendly goats and beautiful lakes. Enjoyed the trip quite a lot.
Posted Aug 19, 2012 12:13 pm

aranWell done

aran

Voted 10/10

Congrats on accomplishing a long time goal. The mountains welcome you back!
Posted Aug 22, 2012 9:35 pm

EastKingRe: Well done

EastKing

Hasn't voted

Thank you very much. Hopefully I can really start hitting the Bulger List before the year is out.
Posted Aug 23, 2012 3:36 am

Viewing: 1-8 of 8